Monday, November 30, 2009

Butter vs margarine email

For many years there has been an email hoax doing its best to frighten you from using margarine. Reader Alyson brought it to my attention again. The email claims that margarine is high in trans fats, the kind of fats that act like those evil saturated fats. This is a dead give-away that the email came from the US where many margarines are high in trans fats. In Australia, table margarine has been virtually free of trans fats since 1998.

The email also states that margarine is “one molecule away from being plastic”, which might startle anyone who hasn’t done chemistry at school. For those that have done chemistry, the statement doesn’t make sense on any level.

Water is H2O. Everyone knows that. It is essential for life. Add an oxygen atom and you have H2O2, hydrogen peroxide, a cleaning agent and disinfectant which, if you swallow it can corrode the lining of your throat and make you sick. That makes water just one atom away from a powerful bleaching agent. Just one atom! Should you stop drinking water? OK, it’s a silly game, but lots of people play the “If I don’t understand chemistry, then neither should you” game.

Butter? Marg? Your choice. If your blood cholesterol is high then choose a poly- or mono-unsaturated margarine. Remember, scary emails about food are usually a hoax.

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